Women’s Center encourages students to express themselves through words, art

By Janet Guereca

The “Healing Through Art” event h allowed students to be creative and spend time outside while expressing themselves through words and art. 

The event held Thursday by the Student Health Center and the East Los Angeles Women’s Center let students know about services provided at the ELWC and what  the month of April signifies.

 April is sexual assault awareness month and the ELWC has held different events and workshops for students on campus. 

Topics such as domestic violence, sexual assault services and mental health are not always talked about at home or in friend groups. 

The goal is to host events that feel like more of a get together . They focus being able to do something that everyone can do. Seeing people attend these events help students that feel alone or discouraged.

The idea is that it’s easier to have important conversations before, during or after the events. 

In case anyone wants to share something, they have extra representatives from the ELWC, such as campus advocate Daniela Herrera.

“You never know if the next person walking by may be needing the extra support,” Madelin Melara a sexual assault and domestic violence therapist with the Women’s Center said. “A big part of what we do is prevention. We want people to know that this is a service that exists.”

The event provided a space for important conversations about sexual assault and domestic violence. Something as simple as a painting can be the first step to opening up and becoming interested in one on one counseling or joining a support group.

Art can help clear minds instead of being focused on only studying and lectures. 

Students who don’t have a lot to say can still be able to express what they’re feeling. Being vocal can be hard when busy with school and other responsibilities. 

Those who walked by slowed down and took time for themselves. Estela Sanchez drew a painting that represented the importance of mental health. 

“I love painting. It’s very therapeutic, and I haven’t painted in a while, so it was nice,” Sanchez said. 

Students without a support network got a sense of community and support.

Monica Alcala and Kevin Roa joined Sanchez in the art activities. They painted and shared advice for those who might be struggling. 

“It’s okay not to be okay,” Sanchez said. 

“You’re not going to struggle forever. Things will get better. Just give it time,” Alcala said. 

 “You’re never alone. There’s always someone there, even if you don’t expect it,” Roa said.

A wall of encouragement was also set up with markers on a table which allowed students to read and write messages.

 It was displayed in a way that if someone walked by, they could read the messages and get a sense of encouragement. 

“It is a nice way to give back but also receive,” Melara said.

Rosemary Ruano stopped by the table and with a marker wrote, “Honesty is the best policy.” 

“Living an honest life is the best way of living because then you have nothing to hide. You are who you are and have nothing to hide,” Ruano said. 

The art made during the “Healing Through Art” event will be displayed starting at 5 p.m. in F5 multi-purpose room on Friday at the “Invincible Event” put on by Student Health Center and ELWC. 

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